Why Is My German Shepherd So Fat?

Why Is My German Shepherd So Fat

Do you have a fat German Shepherd Dog (GSD) who is always feeding on junk foods and ever panting after short exercises? If so, consider your dog to be out of shape, and it requires urgent action from your side.

Like humans, obesity can cause adverse health effects on your German Shepherd from cardiovascular diseases to arthritis.

Consequently, excess weight can shorten your dog’s lifespan by three years.

So, what are the measures you can take to help cut off the extra weight?

Am glad you asked. That said, It’s in this article, you will learn why your German shepherd is adding excessive weight and how you will help your fat German shepherd.

Fat German Shepherd

How Can I Tell I Have a Fat German Shepherd Dog?

Signs of your German shepherd packing up more weight can be easy to tell. However, if you are unsure, it would help if you visited your vet for further checkup.

Here is a guide on how to check whether you have a fat German Shepherd dog.

Physical Test

Run your hands across your GSD ribs. You should feel the German Shepherd ribs with ease under the skin.

Also, you should be able to feel the spine covered with fat with ease.

However, if you have a fat shepherd puppy or adult dog, you will probably struggle to find out where the spine and the ribs are located, as in most cases, fat has occupied these areas.

You can also tell that your hound is fat by letting it stand on all fours as you inspect it from the top.  As you examine your dog, ensure that you can clearly define where the waist is located.

Furthermore, if the abdomen is larger than the thorax, consider that your German Shepherd is packing up more weight.

Weigh Your GSD

In case you are not satisfied with the physical visual test, consider measuring your GSD’s weight monthly.

These are the weight parameters that can guide you and help monitor extra weight gain on your German Shepherd-

Straining and Panting After Exercises

A fat GSD will get winded easily as most organs are overwhelmed by the excess weight.

Besides that, a fat German Shepherd will relent to take a small flight of stairs.

Additionally, you will note that your overweight dog quickly becomes exhausted even after a little exercise.

Your Dog is Always Dormant

An overweight shepherd puppy is less likely to engage in activities that will make it feel fatigued. More so, your dog will rarely exercise or move around because of the excess weight on his body.

You’ll also notice your dog is sleeping throughout the day. Additionally, it’s common for fat GSD’s to lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.

Why Is My German Shepherd Dog Fat?

A German shepherd with extra weight has more health risks. As its owner, however, you are better positioned to know what causes your German shepherd’s excess weight.

Thus, the below factors can help you get a lead of what is causing all these problems.


Overeating is one of the leading factors that will contribute to excess weight on your pet. Yes, you may be giving your shepherd quality foods, but you may be overdoing it.

On average, a grown-up GSD should consume calories between 1200 and 1600. Any extra calories will cause your shepherd to be fat.

Also, numerous feeding intervals will and can increase the calorie count on your canine companion.

That said, you can consult your vet on the best daily calorie guideline for your GSD.

Your Fat German Shepherd Dog is Not Getting a Healthy Diet

Similar to humans, an improper diet can cause weight changes in the body.

For example, a high-fat diet on your German shepherd with no exercise is an outright ticket to obesity.

Also, avoid junk foods as they increase the body fat percentage. Additionally, avoid treats with excess sugars as they will cause your German shepherd to become overweight within no time.

Sweet cakes, ice cream should not be part of your German Shepherd’s diet plan. Even if it’s hard to stay away from these mouthwatering treats, know that they cause more harm than good.

More so, avoid translating your GSD from high-quality food to low food items. The reason being your dog will develop gastric upsets and also put your dog at risk of adding extra kilos.

You must consult your vet on the German Shepherd dog food items and food brands suitable for your furry friend.

Your German Shepherd is Feeding on Human Food

Don’t feed your dog on leftovers and table scrapings. The reason being the most human foods have no essential nutrients needed by the dog.

Pizzas and burgers can be perfect treats for your dog after successfully performing a trick, but they pack lots of harmful calories for your pet.

Consequently, human food has high-fat content that can increase the weight of your GSD.

Besides adding extra calories to your German Shepherd, human food will cause stomach upset and discomfort.

Your German Shepherd Is Feeding On Human Food

Someone is Feeding Your German Shepherd

Perhaps someone has been giving your fat German shepherd dog extra servings when you are not around.

Worth to note, German shepherds can be gluttonous, and they will eat anything offered to them.

That said, extra servings can cause your German shepherd to gain weight rapidly.

To avoid such scenarios, advise your family members not to feed your German shepherd dog without your consent.

Lack of Exercise

A German shepherd is a herding dog that thrives on lots of exercises. You will need to keep your dog within the normal average by doing frequent exercises.

Similar to the human being, lack of exercise can lead to weight gain.

That said, daily exercise will help melt down the extra build-up of calories that may even arise after feeding on quality dry dog food.

Additionally, poor exercise habits can cause health conditions like diabetes in your German shepherd dog.

Neutering and Spaying

Even though neutering or spaying your German shepherd has benefits, to the contrary, these health practices can make your German shepherd become fat.

That said, spaying and neutering decrease your dog’s metabolism rate, thus causing the excess build-up of calories on the body.

So, ensure your shepherd dog undergoes at least one hour of daily exercise after undergoing these health practices.

Fat German Shepherd Dog

Age of Your German Shepherd

Age can cause your German shepherd to gain extra weight. Elderly dogs tend to be inactive since their bodies are mostly ‘tired’; thus, they have low chances of cutting the excess build-up of fat on their bodies.

Your German Shepherd is Pregnant

Perhaps your intact female GSD has gained weight because it’s pregnant. Thus no need for alarm. Pregnancy causes a flare-up of hormones that lead to the build-up of extra mass on your dog.

It’s On the Genes

Some dogs are like German shepherds, are prone to obesity than any other breed. So it could be that your GSD has one of those genes that will make him fat.

Poor Health Condition

Obesity and weight gain can indicate that your dog has an illness, and he needs medical help. In case you are unsure what ailing your dog, visiting a veterinarian medical profession on time will help.

Health conditions that can cause obesity on your GSD

  • Cushing disease

Cushing disease occurs when the body is producing excess cortisol hormone. Cortisol hormone regulates the body’s weight, and any fluctuations in the production of the hormone will cause rapid weight gain in your dog.

  • Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a severe condition that has adverse effects on the health of your dog. An inactive thyroid gland causes obesity and alopecia in dogs.

Injuries and Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common abnormality common in shepherd dogs. Hip dysplasia causes severe pain that will make your dog immobile and less active.

Less activity means that your dog will add more weight because of the decreased metabolism rate.

Health Complication Common in Fat German Shepherd Dog

Obesity in your dog can cause other severe health conditions. Some are manageable, whereas other conditions can be hard to treat.


Your fat shepherd dog is prone to osteoarthritis because of the extra weight exerted on the joints. Arthritis will make your dog’s joint swollen and painful.

Respiratory Disorder

Breathing problems such as shortness of breath and sleep apnea are common in fat dogs. For example, respiratory complications, such as the trachea’s collapse, occur when lungs run-off space because of the build-up of fat around the chest area.

Cardiovascular Problems

Similar to humans, obesity can put your dog at risk of heart complications. Cardiac heart failure and high blood pressure are common health complications in fat German shepherd dogs.

You know, the extra weight on your dog makes the heart to strain while supplying the blood all over the body.

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury

The anterior cruciate is located on the knees, and any extra weight can result in wear and tear.

Tearing of this ligament is painful, and it’s collected by surgery.

Risk during Anesthesia

Organs such as the heart and the lungs can struggle to function when your fat shepherd dog is under anesthesia.

More so, fat dogs take some time to gain consciousness after undergoing anesthesia compared to dogs with an ideal weight.


Obesity is a culprit of causing diabetes in dogs. Diabetes causes your dog to have uncontrolled sugars, and if not managed, it can lead to death.

Reduce Quality and Quantity Life

Fat shepherd dogs never enjoy life like other dogs. They quickly get tired and winded, and they rarely exercise like other dogs.

Furthermore, as earlier stated, obesity reduces your dog’s lifespan by three years.

Skin Complications

Though the mechanism has not well been researched, most skin disorders appear in an obese dog because of the extra folds on the skin that can sometimes be itchy and cause redness.

Helping Your Fat German Shepherd Dog

Transiting from obesity to ideal weight on your German shepherd can be challenging for both the dog and the owner.

However, don’t let your dog lose its weight drastically as, on the reverse, it can cause other body abnormalities.

Your fat German shepherd dog should lose weight slowly to avoid the risk of shock on other body organs. Hence, let the weight loss process be gradual.

Thus, the below guidelines will help you work out a way to help your German Shepherd positively lose weight.

Give Your Vet a Visit

One of the best decisions you can make after noting your German Shepherd is fat is visiting your vet.

How Will My Vet Help?

  • A vet will diagnose whether your fat German shepherd dog has an underlying condition causing the extra weight.
  • Your vet will perform a physical test to ascertain whether your pet is overweight or obese. For a dog to be considered overweight, it must have an extra 15% of its ideal weight.  Also, your vet will help you measure the amount of fat on your dog.
  • A vet will give you tips and recommendations on rectifying your dog’s weight and keeping your dog healthy.


As earlier said, a German shepherd is an active dog that requires daily exercise. Exercise will make your dog lose weight and also mentally stimulated.

Worth to note, it needs patience as you exercise a fat German Shepherd dog.

For exercises, start with low demanding activity before translating to high challenging exercises. For example, you can have short 20 minutes of slow walk daily for two weeks. Then after two weeks, increase the time of walking from 20 to 30 minutes.

In case you are short of time, you can get yourself a trained dog walker who will help your dog lose weight in time.

Additionally, you can try indoor games like fetch or hide seek. Also, swimming can come in handy in helping your elderly fat shepherd lose weight.

Exercise is crucial as it helps convert the excess stored fat into energy.

Quality Foods For Gsd

Give Quality Food to Your Fat German shepherd

Aim to give your dog quality dog food as it will be distant from adverse health conditions like obesity. That said, your regular dog food should comprise proteins, starch, omega, and lots of multivitamins. Vegetables are a good source of vitamins; chicken is a good food source of protein.

Salmons are the best sources of omega.

What you ought to note

  • Avoid giving your dog moist food as they can cause gastric upsets; consider dry dog foods
  • Have a specific routine or timetable to feed your dog; it’s a matter of training your dog.
  • Avoid sugary treats on your German Shepherd, also train your family members not to feed your dog without your consent.
  • Also, for better success in helping your dog lose extra weight, consult your vet. Your vet knows the best adult or puppy food that will help keep an ideal weight on your dog.

The Exit

The above factors will help you understand why your shepherd is gaining weight. Worth to note is that most of the elements are preventable and can be easily corrected.

All dogs deserve to stay a healthy, happy life.

Thus, in the case, you suspect you have a fat shepherd dog; it would be best if you first visited your veterinary.

Your vet will be better positioned to give you tips on helping your dog maintain a healthy weight.

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